background image
n order to fulfil these objectives Phase I
of this project created:
The Ask About Ireland portal site
( contain-
ing links to 30 content sites produced by
individual public authorities, local muse-
ums and archives and based around a sin-
gle theme: The Big House and Landed
Estate Life in Ireland;
A database resource of over 300 digi-
tised items, many of which were previ-
ously unpublished;
Guidelines and Standards for best practice
digitisation of multimedia items;
A national profile of digitisation activity
in Ireland and a database of Irish digitisa-
tion initiatives;
The publication of the report of the
project, Our Cultural Heritage: A strategy
for action for public libraries.
Cultural Heritage Project Phase II
ollowing the success of the first phase
of the Cultural Heritage Project it was
decided to expand the scope of the Ask
About Ireland portal site. The content of
the site was expanded to include ten extra
topics: Architecture, Flora & Fauna, Irish
Language and Legends, Irish Writers, Island
Life, Pages in History, Poor Law Union
Records, Sport, The Virtual Museum, and
Transport. Content was also provided for
this phase of the project by The National
Museum of Ireland (http://www.muse- The project team and its technical
partners reworked the site incorporat-
ing a more sophisticated yet user-friend-
ly structure and design. The Ask About
Ireland Web site is not yet live; however, in
advance of its official launch in September
the portal site was displayed to the dele-
gates at the recent International Digitisation
Conference in Dublin Castle, an event
staged as part of the Irish Presidency of the
European Union.
The National Museum
he National Museum of Ireland
( was a par-
ticipant in the IST-funded, Fifth Framework
ORION project (http://www.orion-net.
org/). The project was completed in 2003,
producing a Research Roadmap that
addressed a wide variety of 3D research
areas according to the results of a user
requirement survey within the ORION
consortium and beyond.
number of other national institutions
such as The National Library (http://, The National Archives (http:// and The National
Gallery (
continue to instigate and develop digitisa-
tion initiatives.
ore information on Ask About
Ireland and new initiatives will be
available in future issues of DigiCULT.Info.
usability workshop took place in
Vilnius on 2-3 July 2004. This event
was intended to validate and comment on
the first draft of desktop research entitled
Usability of ICT-based systems: a state-of-the-
art review undertaken by Vilnius University
Communication Faculty (http://www.
and to promote further discussions on usa-
bility issues in memory institutions.
sability of ICT-based Systems research
is a part of the CALIMERA
(Cultural Applications: Local Institutions
Mediating Electronic Resource Access, project, fund-
ed by the European Commission's FP6
Information Society Technologies pro-
gramme. CALIMERA is a co-ordination
action, aiming to assist and promote inno-
vative application and development of ICT
in local libraries, museums and archives
across Europe, enabling them to provide
quality access to electronic resources for
the benefit of all citizens. Research is per-
formed under Workpackage 3: The end-user
experience: a usable community memory and is
intended to contribute to the integration of
cultural heritage sector technological solu-
tions with the needs and requirements of
end-users by providing review and recom-
mendations of current usability theory and
he main goal of the report on usabili-
ty of ICT-based systems was to define
the main tools, methods and underlying
factors that are prerequisites for effective,
efficient and satisfactory use of technology
or, in other words, usability. Usability is a
field of the Human Computer Interaction
discipline which emerged with widespread
usage of computer-based systems. It pro-
vides necessary tools and approaches for
the development, exploitation and evalua-
tion of technologies underlying community
memory services. In accordance with the
main goals, the report addressed the follow-
ing issues:
1. The concept of usability and its core
elements, taking into account different
approaches and interpretations;
2. Usability methods, tools and evaluation

34 This report can be viewed online at http://www.askaboutireland.

35 See also "Archaeology Museums & 3D in the 21st Century" in
DigiCULT.Info, Issue 4, August 2003, available online at http://www.